Monday, June 02, 2008

It's Official

This morning, while standing on the deck, waiting for the dog to do her bidness, I was watching a pair of goldfinches flit about the yellow honeysuckle vine when I saw it: the first hummingbird of the season. Summer has officially begun!

I make a point of referring to my honeysuckle as honeysuckle vine because the other kind of honeysuckle is an invasive shrub.

Here it is, invading the privat that separates my yard from my neighbor. Technically, it is his privat, but the honeysuckle is growing on my side of the property line. Maybe it will receive a severe pruning one of these days.

What a difference a day makes. Here is the first of the catmint...

... not to be confused with catnip, which I did purchase today. (More on that later.)

And another sign of summer:

Not a very clear photo, but proof of tomato blossoms, on the Sweet Olive.

And yesterday's rose buds...

... are now full-fledged roses.

The 'Blue Muffin' arrowwood is copying the now fading Onondaga.

I'd forgotten just how stinky this particular viburnum is. Phew!

Now, about the catnip and other herbs purchased today. I have been reading a collection of short stories called An Unthymely Death by Susan Wittig Albert. This book is part of a mystery series which features herbalist China Bayles. Besides the stories, it includes herbal lore, gardening tips, recipes, craft projects, etc. It really piqued my interest in herbs, hence today's stop at the garden center. I bought:

lemon balm
lemon verbena
lemon basil
purple basil
cinnamon basil
garlic chives
oregano ('Hot & Spicy')

(Note to self: Type plant names and varieties into the computer before setting them into the landscape. The neighbors think I am weird enough without confirming it by traipsing about the yard, laptop in hand, to enter said info. Which I refrained from doing. Which is why there is no Latin in the above list.)

My previous plans to reserve the strawberry pyramid for herbs from seed fell by the wayside. Most of the above filled out the empty quadrants. The perennial ones I can always move, but I didn't want to put the catnip there because mints just take over. Where could it go where I wouldn't care if it spread a bit? Why, amongst the shrubs.

I planted the arborvitae and viburnum and forsythia four years ago and have been maintaining a shredded bark mulch ever since. But this year, I am balking at buying mulch. For one thing, it is expensive. For another, spreading it around the yard is a lot of work. And most of my beds are so full of plants that decorative mulch is not really needed.

The shrubs, though, still have a lot of room between and around them. So that is where the the catnip went, and that is where I am going to move the other mints that are choking out my oregano.

(Speaking of expensive, I have spent quite a bit at the nursery already this year, but have purchased only a fraction of what I usually do. I had read that there is a surge in interest in gardening, especially vegetable gardening because of the rising cost of food, which is pushing up the prices of plants and seeds. That old supply and demand thing.)

Other chores I accomplished tonight: mowed the front yard and used the grass clippings to mulch the bee balm and chives I transplanted over the weekend. Also watered said transplants. Planted double impatiens in the planter on the front porch, the same variety as last year since they did so well (which right now I can't remember and I'm too lazy to go look).

And I tried once again to get a photo of this columbine that shows just how loaded it is this year.

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